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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I own a pit bull (Or, more likely, a pit bull mix. Best guess is Pit-Lab-X mix.) I also am a journalist.

Long before I owned the breed, or had ever met a good true example of the breed, I wrote about a vicious attack which included two pit bull mixes. I just found the stories.

If I can ask a favor: I'd like to see people pick apart these stories and give an appraisal. I'd be incredibly interested to hear the opinions here. I can give you my own self-appraisal after sufficient time for y'all to respond.

As a warning, these stories do include a few gruesome details.



Semmes man mauled by two pit bulls

Attack leaves Robert Maddox hospitalized; dogs could be returned to their owner, official says

One day after fighting 30 minutes to drive off two pit bulls who broke his arm and covered him with deep bites, a 66-year-old Semmes man sat in a hospital bed and said he was surprised to be alive.

The two dogs may be released in 10 days, and the owner might pay a $45 fee for each animal, an animal control officer said. If the victim wants to pursue additional action against the dogs or the dogs' owner, he would need to do so in a lawsuit, the officer said.

The Press-Register could not reach the dogs' owner, Brian West, for comment.

Robert Maddox said he was walking home from his mother's house at 4:30 p.m. Monday. He had just had supper and needed to take his diabetes medication, which he had left at his home.

Two pit bull mixes were barking and running free - a violation of the state's leash law.

Maddox said he had encountered the two dogs in the past.

"They've chased me before," he said, "but I could get them out of the way with a stick. I usually carry a stick with me."

He didn't have one with him Monday, though.

The two dogs charged him, he said, and he saw them coming but was fairly certain he couldn't get away. He hurried along, but at his age, he can't run very well, he said.

The dogs caught up with him in his yard, where they knocked him over.

"I fell on my shoulder," he said. "After I got down, there was no way to get up."

Once they knocked him to the ground, he hoped the dogs would run away, he said.

"They kept biting everywhere," he said. "They wouldn't back down at all."

Maddox tried to kick the dogs off him, but all that did was give the animals a new target, he said.

"They grabbed my leg," he said. "Wherever one didn't bite, the other bit."

His arm was broken, and the dog bites caused deep cuts on his legs, he said.

"They pulled my pants off and ripped them up," he said.

They bit his genitals three times, Maddox said.

"They wasn't going to stop until they finished me off," he said. "I was hollering real bad. I was begging for someone to come. I didn't think I'd make it."

His son, Wesley Maddox, heard his screams and came out of the house. When he came over, the dogs ran off, Robert Maddox said.

Carmelo Miranda, animal resource supervisor at Mobile County Animal Shelter, said his office was investigating to see if there were any past incidents with the dogs.

If not, the animals can be released to West, the owner, after a 10-day quarantine while they are tested for rabies and other diseases and there is an investigation to reveal any past incidents.

Only one of the dogs, Xena, was in custody as of Tuesday afternoon. Xena is a pit bull mix, Miranda said. The other dog was scheduled to be apprehended Tuesday evening, Miranda said.

Miranda said the county sees many pit bulls apprehended, but said this type of accident could really happen with any dog.

"The main problem is owners feel because they are in the county they can let the dogs roam free," he said. "At night, dogs become territorial. At night, no matter what, whether it's a Chihuahua or pit bull, they will chase."

He said tickets are not issued for violation of the state law. Instead, the owners pay a fee when they pick up the dogs.

Maddox said he doesn't want them released.

"They tried to kill me," he said. "I'd like to see them killed. They're not going to get no better."






ATTACKED IN SEMMES

Mauled survivor: Destroy the dogs

Robert Maddox fears pit bulls could hurt others as badly as they did him


The man mauled by his next door neighbor's two pit bull dogs returned to his Semmes home late Thursday evening, unable to walk on his own, every move causing more pain.

Robert Maddox said the agony passed through his body undaunted by the prescription Lortab painkillers he was given by doctors. He renewed his call for the animals, Xena and Rocket, to be destroyed.

"They can't be out in public," he said. "Anybody could get in this same shape. My mother could be in this shape."

He moaned as he tried to find a comfortable position to rest on his couch, his son by his side attempting to ease the 66-year-old man's suffering. The injured man said he doesn't know what he's supposed to do with his life right now. "This ain't worth crap now," he said.

On Monday evening, he was walking home from his mother's home as he does every evening. Two pit bull dogs ran up to him, knocking him to the ground breaking his right arm, which hung lifelessly at his side Thursday. The dogs bit down and refused to let go. After a half-hour struggle during which he sustained numerous bites on his legs, backside, stomach and genitals, his son heard his wails and came to his rescue.

During the 30-minute attack, the dogs bit him about 25 times. Each time, they bit down hard and shook their heads back and forth until they tore a chunk from his body, Maddox said.

The dogs are in the custody of the Mobile County Animal Control Department, in the middle of a 10-day quarantine where they'll be tested for rabies and possibly released to the owner after he pays a $45 fee for each dog. Sarah Hopson, the department's director, said the dog owner, Brian West, owned two different dogs involved in a 2004 attack. The department still hasn't talked to West about that attack, though, and could not reach him again Thursday.

The Press-Register also has been unable to reach West this week by phone or by a visit to his home.

State law makes it a misdemeanor for dog owners to allow their pets to leave their property unrestrained. In some cases, dog owners have been charged with reckless endangerment because of attacks. Earlier this year, a couple in Chilton County, Ala., were charged after their two pit bulls mauled a police officer.

Maddox said he was advised by doctors that his recovery could be slowed by diabetes. He will have a home care professional monitoring him as he recovers.

Even the simplest tasks were trying for Maddox on Thursday when he returned to his home. He reached to pet his own dog, a tiny Shi Tzu named Cocoa, letting out whimpers of his own as he strained to stroke the pup.

A trip to the bathroom yielded wails.

He said the only thing that provides him any solace is the fight to destroy the dogs. He said he believes pit bulls should be outlawed as pets. That's the law in Denver and several other U.S. cities. But laws banning a specific breed of dog are being challenged in the courts.

West, the dog owner, is a friend of the family, Maddox said. Aside from letting the dogs roam every afternoon, he's an ideal neighbor. The Maddoxes even give West a few bucks to cut their lawn every once in a while.

Wesley Maddox, Robert's son, said the relationship is a bit strained now. He said West has called several times, and hoped to visit Thursday night. They haven't talked to each other about the future of the dogs, though, Wesley Maddox said.

Robert Maddox said if county authorities were unable to get the dogs put to sleep, he would sue or go through whatever means possible to see that they couldn't attack and maim anyone else.

"I want them destroyed," he said.
 

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well the problem I see (and whats wrong with most journals) is if it's not a purebred they shouldn't even try and make it one breed or the other it should just be "Mix breed attack man" that would be much more helpful for true pitbulls. because as you know one of the biggest problems with BSL is it puts purebred american pitbull terrier in the same group as mutts and just calls them all pit bulls if they attack something
 

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Definitely wasn't as bad as many I've seen. Didn't see the usual "vicious Pit Bulls attack" or things like that. They seemed mostly factual, with the exception of what Keechak said. But I think any journalist would have written "a [breed]-mix attacked" rather than leaving the breed out.
 

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but thats a big problem when they assume what it's mixed with without any facts. you know a PitbullXlab mix can look the same as a BoxerXlab mix but they would probably both be labled Pitbull mixes or Pitbulls in the paper
 

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Keechak I agree with you. It is wrong and it places and unfair burden on the APBT and similar breeds. Believe me I'm all about the media being biased and reporting the wrong breed information. I just don't think GeorgeGlass was so out of the norm when the dog was labeled a Pit Bull mix. Maybe it wasn't even him who came to that conclusion - maybe the owner or victim called the dog such
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
let me ask you this george...

when you wrote those articles, what TYPE of evidence did you have that made you write it the way that you did?
Evidence of what kind?

I got my information from talking to animal control, looking at the police reports, talking to the victim and I also spoke to a neighbor who did not want to be quoted but told me about the events which were pretty much in line with what the guy who got bit said.

I just don't think GeorgeGlass was so out of the norm when the dog was labeled a Pit Bull mix. Maybe it wasn't even him who came to that conclusion - maybe the owner or victim called the dog such
The dogs were registered with the county as "Pit Bull Terrier." The animal control officer said she'd go with "pit bull mix" since that's what they labeled them at the kennel.

I also met the dogs. I didn't know enough about dogs to have an informed opinion on breed. (Probably still don't.) Both dogs looked terrified.
 

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I'm a firm believer than anything written about an un prevoked dog attack should start out with... "Poorly trained dog attacks..." because in the long run that's what it comes down to. It has nothing to do with the breed, so it shouldn't matter.

The only reason it seems to be pitbull or pitbull mixes, or anything built like a pitbull is because these dogs are the perfect build for someone who wants a big tough dog. and that's all owners like this worry about.

If the the misfortune of doing a story like this ever presents it self, I'd say your interview shouldn't be with the person who was attacked, I'd like to see some good questions towards the dog owner.

Why do you thing your dogs did this?
Do you blame yourself?
Could there have been any way you could have prevented this?
Can you prevent this in the future?
Do you plan on putting the dogs down?

If a dog attacks someone, and the owner can't blame themself, the dog is obviously not fit to be around people because it's obviously the dogs fault right?




Side not: what in the world was the son doing that took 30 minutes to hear his father screaming for his life outside the house?
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
well the problem I see (and whats wrong with most journals) is if it's not a purebred they shouldn't even try and make it one breed or the other it should just be "Mix breed attack man" that would be much more helpful for true pitbulls.
Why I labeled them at all: They were identified to me as a pit bull mix. If it was identified as a boxer mix, that would be what I wrote. If I was told it was an identifiable mutt, that's what I would have gone with. I trusted the animal control folks' expertise, and a common sense check. I went to see the dogs and I would have assumed they were pure-bred APBT. That said, I did not/do not have expertise.

I guarantee, because of the severity of the attack, any breed attacking would have generated a front-page headline. And a followup would have come, too, regardless.

I'm a firm believer than anything written about an un prevoked dog attack should start out with... "Poorly trained dog attacks..." because in the long run that's what it comes down to. It has nothing to do with the breed, so it shouldn't matter.

The only reason it seems to be pitbull or pitbull mixes, or anything built like a pitbull is because these dogs are the perfect build for someone who wants a big tough dog. and that's all owners like this worry about.

If the the misfortune of doing a story like this ever presents it self, I'd say your interview shouldn't be with the person who was attacked, I'd like to see some good questions towards the dog owner.

Why do you thing your dogs did this?
Do you blame yourself?
Could there have been any way you could have prevented this?
Can you prevent this in the future?
Do you plan on putting the dogs down?

If a dog attacks someone, and the owner can't blame themself, the dog is obviously not fit to be around people because it's obviously the dogs fault right?




Side not: what in the world was the son doing that took 30 minutes to hear his father screaming for his life outside the house?
I don't want to get too defensive, but I'm happy to answer any questions about the decision making process or reporting process. I will say that I would have asked questions similar to the ones you posed of the owner if he would talk to me. He wouldn't talk to me, though. I'm pretty sure he was home when I knocked on his door. I could hear rustling in the house. (ETA: I did hear from some folks that he was an incredibly nice guy and he was generally a good neighbor. I also heard he treated his dogs well. Granted, his dogs were outside unattended)

Also, I could buy the son not hearing him. These are big lots, and if there's a radio on in the house, I wouldn't be surprised he couldn't hear him from that far away.
 

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I don't want to get too defensive, but I'm happy to answer any questions about the decision making process or reporting process. I will say that I would have asked questions similar to the ones you posed of the owner if he would talk to me. He wouldn't talk to me, though. I'm pretty sure he was home when I knocked on his door. I could hear rustling in the house. (ETA: I did hear from some folks that he was an incredibly nice guy and he was generally a good neighbor. I also heard he treated his dogs well. Granted, his dogs were outside unattended)

Also, I could buy the son not hearing him. These are big lots, and if there's a radio on in the house, I wouldn't be surprised he couldn't hear him from that far away.
Treating a dog well, and training a dog well are two completly different things. If you give your dog everything it wants things like this are bound to happen, it thinks it can get away with anything.

And instead of "The dogs owner was not able to be reached for comments" I'd think he's fitting for a "The dogs owner was un-willing to discuss his problem" or something along those lines. although I don't know the rules of journalism regarding that.


But as far as your journalism, was the breed of dog needed in the title? or is it there simply because as a journalist you know your article will be sold better with the title "man attacked by pit bull" rather than "man attacked by dog?"

Not that I'd blame you for it, selling the story is your job.

Sorry if I'm coming off as attacking also. I've just always wanted to see why the big bad pit bull stories are writen the way they are.


The best dog attack article I've seen to date was the recent one where the owner obviously made himself to be the problem. insulting the victim and laughing about it.
 

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well the problem I see (and whats wrong with most journals) is if it's not a purebred they shouldn't even try and make it one breed or the other it should just be "Mix breed attack man" that would be much more helpful for true pit bulls. because as you know one of the biggest problems with BSL is it puts purebred american pitbull terrier in the same group as mutts and just calls them all pit bulls if they attack something
That is my BIGGEST pet peeve when I read these types of articles. Why demonize a certain breed by labeling IT as the offender when dealing with mixes. If it is a Pit/Lab mix why isn't it 2 Lab mixes maul a man? Why not just 2 mix breed dogs? Especially when dealing with mixes one never knows which characteristics of which breeds are in the forefront. They are just DOGS, not a certain breed.

Why do you thing your dogs did this?
Do you blame yourself?
Could there have been any way you could have prevented this?
Can you prevent this in the future?
Do you plan on putting the dogs down?

If a dog attacks someone, and the owner can't blame themselves, the dog is obviously not fit to be around people because it's obviously the dogs fault right?
I think too that more answers should be demanded of the owner of the dogs. If they didn't feel guilty before maybe they would at least think about the answers to those. (I doubt it though)

The best dog attack article I've seen to date was the recent one where the owner obviously made himself to be the problem. insulting the victim and laughing about it.
I just saw that video and read that article myself. It made me SICK! It also was a fantastic view of what so many of the crap owners are like. Not all "dangerous dog breed" owners are like that. I can't speak for others but I can say, my reaction to something like that would be NOTHING like that. I can't imagine how I would react. I would be crying, apologizing, trying to help the man that had been attacked etc.... I also do not have any calls from neighbors or animal control or police about my dogs EVER. Most good owners do not.

So all in all, I know that articles have to be written but I wish more weight was on what type of owner the dog had, it's background etc... Less on what breed it is, as that really doesn't make the situation what it is.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
And instead of "The dogs owner was not able to be reached for comments" I'd think he's fitting for a "The dogs owner was un-willing to discuss his problem" or something along those lines. although I don't know the rules of journalism regarding that.
I wasn't sure he was unwilling to talk. I only suspected that. Had he answered the phone and said he wouldn't talk or if he had seen me and then run in the house and not answered, then I would have said the owner refused to talk or the owner declined to speak or he was unwilling, all depending on the situation. The reality was, I could not reach him, so that's what I wrote.

But as far as your journalism, was the breed of dog needed in the title? or is it there simply because as a journalist you know your article will be sold better with the title "man attacked by pit bull" rather than "man attacked by dog?"

Not that I'd blame you for it, selling the story is your job.
Reporters don't write the titles/headlines. So I didn't write that part. I was not privvy to the discussion, so I can't comment further on that.


Sorry if I'm coming off as attacking also. I've just always wanted to see why the big bad pit bull stories are writen the way they are.
Not at all! I posted this with the hope of me getting an education on perception (plus because I think there were a few things I would change now that I'm more knowledgeable and wondered if it was the same things y'all would point out), but I also thought an honest discourse about WHY I chose certain wording or wrote it a certain way would be helpful to those whose only experience with the news media regarding dog attacks is watching or reading the final product.

That is my BIGGEST pet peeve when I read these types of articles. Why demonize a certain breed by labeling IT as the offender when dealing with mixes. If it is a Pit/Lab mix why isn't it 2 Lab mixes maul a man? Why not just 2 mix breed dogs? Especially when dealing with mixes one never knows which characteristics of which breeds are in the forefront. They are just DOGS, not a certain breed.
I hear you. I would say in most cases, the media goes with what animal control or another person with expertise refers to them as.
 

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You know, this calls to mind something pretty interesting. Let me preface this by saying I am NOT letting the media off the hook for the way they sensationalize pit bull attacks. Many reporters are CLEARLY out to create hysteria, using words like "vicious" and "violent" and not providing any backstory or blame on the owners.

However, something I've ben VERY interested in lately is the whole breed misidentification thing. I think, in media reports where a "pit bull" is blamed, but the dog is actually another breed, many times we might be experiencing a trickle-down effect. Animal Control frames the dogs as Pit Bulls, when they might be Boxer mixes or Dogo Argentinos or Bulldogs, and the media reports it. Witnesses might frame the dogs as Pit Bull types and the media reports it. I think the problem is that no one knows how to identify a true APBT (or even AST/SBT if you want to stretch it) and this is where the problem lies. A supposed "expert" like animal control says the wrong thing and the media reports it. Animal Control is supposed to know what they're talking about.. the media assumes animal control is right.. and the media reports.

At one event with other animal control officers, Sullivan brought along a "Find the Pit Bull" photo array to show his colleagues, but "Of the more than two dozen animal control officers present - professionals who should know their dog breeds very well - only five were able to correctly identify the pit bull on the first try. Several of the animal control officers owned pit bulls, but were still unable to pick out the proper dog on the first shot. That tells me there's something seriously lacking when it comes to knowledge about the pit bull breed, even among professionals," Sullivan explained.
Source

Of course there are problems with this article, too, since Pit Bull is being held equivalent to AST and APBT isn't mentioned, but still.. I think it shows something substantial.
 

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Ok George, I like to comment, But first you must be very very careful what you say about APBT or PB on this forum, you would think this forum is all about just that breed! I have the highest respect for journalist, you are constantly under the gun by readers, if you move slightly to the right, or slightly to the left, you are under fire, and if you are alway right on the line your reporting may be tooo boring(lackadaisial):D

I will give you details of two real occurrences, and I know how they were reported, but let you decide.

A fourteen year old girl was kicked in the head by her horse, and went into a week coma, before she pass away.

Facts: She was grooming her horse, was at the back end and maybe mabe got careless, but the horse may have felt an itch, raised it leg up and her head was there.......

A two year old child was killed by a dog and died

Facts: The child was on her own property in the back yard, mother went into the house to answer phone. A reconized pit bull from accross the street, ran over and maul and mangled the child to the point the child was unrecognizable. Owner could not understand how the dog got out.

Just another thought, when parents raise their kids just like a dog owner, very little supervision, the kids goes on to bully other kids, and the dog picks on other dogs. Finally the kid gets older and stabs someone and the dog goes on to kill a child. So who goes to jail the parents, or the kid, the dog owner or the dog?? get my drift, the actual one that commits the crime does the time not the owner or the parents, thats the law!!!
 

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when a child grows up it is an adult and therefore responsible for it's own actions. A dog, never grows up to that point, mentally and is always under the care of it's parent/owner. It is still held responsible in most cases but it can only be a product of it's environment. What else could the dog do? If we ever see a dog walking down the street holding a suitcase and a sign that says "I am looking for a better home" we will know they have evolved to the point of being responsible enough to pay for their own actions.
 

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Ok George, I like to comment, But first you must be very very careful what you say about APBT or PB on this forum, you would think this forum is all about just that breed! I have the highest respect for journalist, you are constantly under the gun by readers, if you move slightly to the right, or slightly to the left, you are under fire, and if you are alway right on the line your reporting may be tooo boring(lackadaisial):D

I will give you details of two real occurrences, and I know how they were reported, but let you decide.

A fourteen year old girl was kicked in the head by her horse, and went into a week coma, before she pass away.

Facts: She was grooming her horse, was at the back end and maybe mabe got careless, but the horse may have felt an itch, raised it leg up and her head was there.......

A two year old child was killed by a dog and died

Facts: The child was on her own property in the back yard, mother went into the house to answer phone. A reconized pit bull from accross the street, ran over and maul and mangled the child to the point the child was unrecognizable. Owner could not understand how the dog got out.

Just another thought, when parents raise their kids just like a dog owner, very little supervision, the kids goes on to bully other kids, and the dog picks on other dogs. Finally the kid gets older and stabs someone and the dog goes on to kill a child. So who goes to jail the parents, or the kid, the dog owner or the dog?? get my drift, the actual one that commits the crime does the time not the owner or the parents, thats the law!!!
I agree that there are quite a few PB and APBT owners on this board......but since this is a DOG FORUM....with members that care a lot about their dogs....I would think that anyone would take care no to bash any breed ....I would bet that if we started a thread on how horrible paps are or collies or beagles...there would be quite a few members that would take issue :D


I don't get the story about the horse?....:eek:

and since when can we prosecute a dog?....do they get a trial.....are they provided counsel?.........can they be read their rights....and if we do read them their rights....can they comprehend them...laws LOL

Let me ask this......whom do you think would take the fall if a child was not provided with proper food or medical attention....whom do you think would be held responsible if a child did not go to school?...was chained to a tree all day and all night?

as I understand there are different laws pertain to adults and to children....so which are you judging the dog on?
 

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and since when can we prosecute a dog?....do they get a trial.....are they provided counsel?.........can they be read their rights....and if we do read them their rights....can they comprehend them...laws LOL
Pugmom I agree with your whole post, but this especially. This is exactly why pointing the finger at an attacking dog does aboslutely no good. You're laying the blame on someone who doesn't even know they're being blamed. Even if they're euth'd.. the dog doesn't know, "OH CRAP, shouldn't have bit that guy, now they're gonna kill me.."
 

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Pugmom I agree with your whole post, but this especially. This is exactly why pointing the finger at an attacking dog does aboslutely no good. You're laying the blame on someone who doesn't even know they're being blamed. Even if they're euth'd.. the dog doesn't know, "OH CRAP, shouldn't have bit that guy, now they're gonna kill me.."
Nope, the only thing they know is "where is my mama and daddy?" I think dogs would assume we show the same loyalty to them as they give to us. Imagine the staggering number of disappointed dogs when they see humans are not as good with loyalty as they are. Yeah yeah, I know most folks don't think dogs can think. :rolleyes: :)
 

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Yeah, Inga.. the only thing that happens to a dog on death row is that the dog is scared out of it's mind and has no idea what's going on.. because some 2-legged idiot didn't take the time to teach it right from wrong and keep it safely confined
 
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